Minimalissimo


Furniture manufacturer Vitsœ and German industrial designer Dieter Rams are likely to be familiar names to our readers. It is a wonderful collaboration between these two that I have the pleasure of sharing with you today — the 621 Side Table. Originally designed by Rams in 1962 for Vitsœ, it has been re-engineered in 2014 with the addition of adjustable feet, satisfying Rams’s wish that was never fulfilled by the original. 621 has many uses for a simple table — not only a side table, coffee table or bedside table, 621 is excellent as the there-when-needed table. Vitsœ writes: Its simple design allows it to stand alone or be combined as a group to satisfy a surprising range of uses in the home or office. Turned on its end it can slide over a sofa — almost any sofa. This beautifully designed table will soon be available in two sizes (36cm and 45cm) and two colours (off-white & black).


Late last year we introduced you to the simple, minimalist and superbly designed branding and packaging of Håndværk by Savvy. The small, artisanal New York based fashion brand specialises in supremely luxurious pieces with a thoughtfully curated collection of high quality everyday essentials made from the finest natural raw materials and innovative fabrics. The label was founded by husband and wife Esteban Saba and Petra Brichnacova, who both share a passion for textiles. Their vision? To create a lifestyle brand grounded on the essence of quality craftsmanship and minimal design. From the grey mélange sweatshirt, cut from super soft loopback knit fabric — to the classic white cotton crew neck t-shirt — to the light grey pure cashmere scarf — this basic collection is filled with quality and a simplicity that has the minimalist in me wish-listing. Håndværk are also offering a 25% discount using the code: minimalissimo


The fine jewelry of Poland-based Agata Bieleń is easily recognized by its subtle geometrical lines and lightweight elegance. Encouraged by a friendly conversion with Scott Schumann — the man behind The Sartorialist — convincing her to do in her life what she really loves, she made sure to focus on her very own vision of design: The main inspiration for my work is the straight line. The most basic unit of geometry found in space. With this inspriation in mind, Agata created her latest collection by the name of SNOW QUEEN for pre-spring 2014. The collection is characterized by asymmetrical compositions of nature-like shapes — like twigs, branches and tree stems — while at the same time keeping the unit of a straight line as a basis. I love Agata’s clear vision, her minimalistic approach and the way she manages to always keep a touch of femininity to her delightfully raw designs.


UK practice John Morgan Studio recently undertook the redesign of the prestigious London publication ArtReview, art directing and developing the design of each issue and special editions since September 2013 in an elegant, clean fashion. For the Future Greats issue, an annual special edition that that declares the artists to watch out for over the coming year, Morgan commissioned these whited-out portraits by photographers Luke and Nik, creating an experimental and disquieting set of covers that immediately catch the eye.


Once again, Jil Sander has left her own label after expelling Raf Simons from the house in 2012. For Autumn Winter 2014, the brand’s design team took over to produce a minimal collection that proves even without a creative director, a show can still carry on its identity without any compromises. The collective effort has created a new Jil girl that’s both tomboy and feminine. With her popped collars and bright creepers, she knows where she wants to go, and what she wants to do. The outerwear and the pants especially emphasizes this masculinity undertone, while the floral dresses totally contrast that. With a few tailoring twists here and there (literally), there is an additional newness to what is seemingly ordinary. The trend of pastels is apparent through a combination of soft colors applied onto vibrant textures, from the glossy finish to the interwoven feel of knitwear. Accessories were simplified to small bags and exactly one pair of sunglasses, which I found quirky and humorous. All these elements fused together to elevate the energy of youth with an elegant manner. Although there was no innovation, the ready-to-wear aspect was highly regarded and the collection was wearable at its finest. In...


REN is a beautiful laconic creation of Japanese studio Karimoku New Standard. Inspired by traditional Japanese seating, this chair has a square frame and a low backrest. Designers claim that this shape and the position of the back promote healthy posture. I love how well thought out the piece is. Each part of a wooden frame is assembled using the traditional Japanese woodwork technique tomegata sanmai tsugi, or Triple Tenon. This principle allows to achieve a sturdy construction without the use of toxic adhesives. REN comes in two different frame colours and offers three choices of upholstery – paper yarn, textile and leather.


South Korean artist Yoon Sol has produced a wonderful ceramic series titled From the Archetype, which involves layering porcelain in thin sheets to create different shapes. He writes: I work from a sphere to produce thin layers of bowl shaped elements with different diameters and heights. If these layers are placed one by one, small and big bowls can form an installation piece. From the Archetype tells a story of building up imperfection status through decomposition of a typical and perfect image, and of seeking the right pieces to complete my own pictorial puzzle. Here, Yoon Sol beautifully demonstrates the limitless of variation spawned from a single shape, resulting in a flawless collection of simple white ceramics that go beyond the aesthetics.


Nendo’s N Bottle is the perfect vessel for beloved sake label Nakata Hidetoshi. Conceived in 2003, its classic and timeless formality is as befitting and appropriate as ever. The cap is made by spinning aluminum into its tubular form on a lathe with the slightest of dimples set into the surface to aid the pouring process. Japanese and minimal, this piece embodies understated industrial design. The original brief requested a bottle that shields its contents from ultraviolet rays that also would explore a shape not ordinarily used for sake. Formally akin to a stick of charcoal, the resulting container is slick. N Bottle is made with Yamadanishiki and Aiyama rice varieties, making it an extremely high quality sake. The parent collaboration of great product and design, sees birth to N Bottle as a pillar in industrial design and brand alignment. Photography courtesy of Hiroshi Iwasaki.


At the beginning of the year, Sydney based fashion brand, Uniform Studios (UNIF.M), announced their Autumn/Winter 2014 collection containing remarkably simple, stylish and undoubtedly sought after designs for both men and women. Like many simple, minimalist garments, it is the fabric and the details that make a design successful. Here, UNIF.M have carefully considered their fabrics, sticking to the classics — wool, silk, cotton, leather — fabrics of quality and wearability. There’s minimalism, elegance and a casual feel to this range that I really do appreciate. UNIF.M explains: We see this collection as an extension of our previous ranges. We don’t really like to limit our designs by one particular story or mood. We focus on each garment individually and tend to be item-driven. It’s the small details that may not be noticeable at first that make each garment loveable to us. We care deeply about the details. Photography by Bowen Aricò.


This residence on an irregular site located in Islington, London is designed by Atelier ChanChan. The complete demolition of the previous building allowed the designer to instill her own design language into the facade of the house, a Herringbone brick pattern. Brick, being the material that is familiar to the context yet in a pattern that is seldom used on the exteriors. The warmth from the materials used both inside and out of this house exudes the comfort in its minimalism. The stunning detail of the floating staircase brings much light through the interiors; the sliding doors that provide a frameless opening to the courtyard; the walls in the bedroom that extends to the pitch of the roof – the architecture connects the spaces in an elegant and subtle manner that exemplifies understated, minimalist design. Photos via Atelier ChanChan and Dezeen.


Recently opened to the public is the Infinity Bamboo Forest, a spectacular passage in a public annex building located in Wuxi, China. The installation is a reference to the traditional Japanese culture with its characteristic bamboo forests, and from the beginning experienced limitations of space, time and budget. So the result cannot be more magnificent, developing a passage of twenty meters as an infinity bamboo forest essentially using a combination of light and mirrors. The design of the installation was conceived by Prism Design, a Shanghai-based architecture and design studio, founded in 2009 by Tomohiro Katsuki.


In February Noon Studio launched their latest iternation of the steel stool we have featured in the past. I did like the previous edition, the simple construction and use of honest materials, but I like the latest iternation even better. The founders of Noon Studio, Gautier Pelegron and Vincent Taiani, have worked on a few important details in the construction and decided to powder coat paint the high grade steel sheet. I love the contrast of the oiled European ash and the black steel. Pelegron and Taiani say the stool is influenced by traditional English craftsmanship and Provencal (southeastern France) rawness. The stool tries to express the direct simplicity found in real traditional antique Provencal furniture and the know-how of British craftsmanship which still holds today. The stool is not just a stool. One can easliy use it as a side or coffee table, book holder or shelving system.